Published on November 4th, 2014 | by NASCAR Wire Service0
Busch Wins WinStar World Casino & Resort 350
After an astounding run toward the front after a late restart in Friday night’s Winstar World Casino and Resort 350 at Texas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag under caution at the end of a green-white-checkered-flag run to the finish of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
In a wild final two laps that left ThorSport Racing teammates Jeb Burton and Johnny Sauter at odds on pit road, Burton finished second, followed by Timothy Peters, polesitter Tyler Reddick and series leader Matt Crafton.
Sauter went spinning through the infield grass after what appeared to be incidental contact from Burton on Lap 145 of a scheduled 147 to cause the caution that set up the green-white-checkered finish and sent the race five laps beyond its posted distance.
The victory was Busch’s seventh of the season, his third at Texas and the 42nd of his career. What made the win possible was Busch’s dramatic surge from ninth to third on the penultimate restart on Lap 143, after five drivers stayed out on old tires and three others took two tires or no tires on their final pit stops under the fifth caution.
Busch wasn’t worried about the outcome until he realized he had miscounted the number of trucks that would restart ahead of him on Lap 143.
“I thought when I saw four trucks out there (that had stayed out)… I only counted four, and then all of a sudden the 15 (Mason Mingus) popped up, and that made it five,” Busch said. “But when I counted four, that was going to put us eighth on the outside, but then the 15 was there, and so it was ninth on the inside.
“I thought the 17 (Peters) was in the catbird seat there. I figured he had the perfect strategy—two tires, and he was going to be on the outside (restarting sixth), get through those guys and get out front.”
As it turned out, Busch drove up the middle after the restart and passed Peters for second right before caution flew on Lap 145 for Sauter’s trip through the grass. As Busch would say later, his dramatic run to the front was essentially a case of “close your eyes and hold on.”
“Driving up through the middle there, the seas sort of parted ways a little bit, and they were already three-wide, and I’m like, ‘There’s a gap there—I’m taking it.’ And that put us four-wide. But in those situations, with that many laps to go, you’ve just got to do it.”
Crafton’s two closest pursuers in the series standings, Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr., both had issues on Friday night, but Wallace got by far the worse of the exchange, as both his engine and his championship hopes expired in the same instant.
As Wallace was chasing Busch, his car owner, from the second position on Lap 106, his engine erupted in a plume of smoke and dropped a stream of oil on the race track. Wallace took his No. 54 Toyota to the garage and finished 26th, falling 43 points behind Crafton with two races left in the season.
Blaney was forced to change batteries under caution on Lap 77 and fell to 16th for a restart on Lap 82 but rallied to finish ninth and minimized the damage to his position in the standings. Blaney remained second, 23 points behind Crafton.
Note: With Busch’s victory, Toyota clinched its seventh manufacturer’s championship in the Camping World Truck Series… Busch has now led laps in 21 consecutive NCWTS starts.